Space Engineer

Laurie Mills, of California Closets, solves elaborate puzzles, one closet at a time.

“I had worked as a Remodeling Contractor, and I just didn’t want to be dirty anymore,” says Laurie Mills, executive sales and design consultant for California Closets (1235 W Burnside St, 503-885-8211, “I saw an ad on Craigslist for California Closets and I thought, well, this looks interesting.”

Fast-forward 12 and a half years, and Mills blushes when her general manager, Nicole Kypreos, brags that Mills—formerly the lead singer of several rock bands—ranks among the nation’s top 10 California Closets designers.

Looking over her portfolio, it’s no wonder Mills garners such acclaim. To those lucky enough to book a free in-home consultation with this sought-after closet-and-cubby guru, it’s obvious she takes very seriously the business of elevating storage spaces into works of art.

“I love helping people figure out how to get better use out of their space,” Mills smiles warmly. “It’s fun to visit new people and hear their stories. I love exposing them to new possibilities.”

At California Closets, there are a lot of new possibilities to consider: shelves, trays, nesting drawers, shoe racks, finishes, hidden mirrors, built-in safes. To help the befuddled, designers like Mills make complimentary house calls anywhere in Oregon and southwestern Washington.

Kypreos explains that customers are sometimes surprised that a local company can offer such rich variety and extensive service. “It’s called California Closets, but we’re 100 percent locally owned and operated in Oregon. We’ve manufactured our goods in Tualatin since 1984. Everything starts as a sheet of wood in our Tualatin shop.”

Mills points out that local doesn’t mean limited. “One thing our clients value is the opportunity to make it their own. We listen and we collaborate to help them solve the overall puzzle. Every day is a new puzzle, which is great.”  –Erin Gilday | Photo by Michelle MItchell

Spring Cleaning Tips From Laurie Mills

Keep what you love

Ditch the rest. Remember: When you give it away, you’re giving someone else the opportunity to love it.

The hanger trick

An easy way to ID unused duds? Turn all of your hangers backward. After you wear something, turn the hanger to the right side. At the end of the season, hangers still hung backward hit the “donate” pile.

A place for everything

Curb clutter by keeping a pretty bowl in your closet area to serve as a catch-all for pocket contents.